Cloud computing has become a dominant force in enterprise-level infrastructure decisions. According to the Cisco Global Cloud Index forecasts, worldwide cloud traffic will more than triple and account for 95 percent of total data center traffic by 2021. It raises questions about the future of traditional data centers. Are they going to go out of fashion? Not likely. They will have to evolve, but there are still plenty of reasons for building traditional data centers.
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Cloud computing is expanding fast. The global IT cloud service spending is predicted to reach $160 billion this year. That definitely shows the strength of this sector. But according to IDC, even though traditional infrastructure saw 3.8% decrease in 2017 from a year ago, it still was 52.4% of the total worldwide IT revenue. When businesses choose between cloud and traditional data centers, multiple factors can influence the final decision. Both infrastructures have strengths and weaknesses.
Technical and Financial Considerations
The decision to build an on-premise data center vs using the public cloud can depend on performance, security, and cost priorities. When decisions are made to save money, the cloud is often the winner. Cloud provides the possibility of infinite scaling while keeping costs down. On the other hand, if optimizing performance and keeping data secure is the primary consideration, a lot of enterprises prefer the control they have through traditional data centers. But traditional data centers come with the headache of individually maintaining servers on a daily basis. Data center managers would love to resolve this issue. So companies are taking a private cloud approach. This allows data centers to enjoy the cloud abstraction for regular use while keeping ownership of the infrastructure.
Rules and Regulations Across Borders
The data stored in the cloud has to reside on physical servers in a location somewhere in the world. And that opens up a whole set of legal and regulatory problems. Countries around the world have different laws for storing data. When using the cloud, compliance can become an issue. Also, as most hyperscale data centers supporting the cloud reside in North America and Europe, companies located in other continents are skeptical about trusting the major public cloud providers with their data. It keeps the door open for traditional data centers to thrive.
Legacy and Transition Costs
Businesses get excited about the low-cost and scalability of the cloud. But big companies have big data. And if that data is stored in traditional data centers, moving it can be expensive, time-consuming and in some cases counter-productive. So even though companies find it intriguing to move their systems to the cloud, once they realize the enormity of the task, they often try to find a more middle-ground and take the hybrid approach. They build the systems partly in the cloud and partly on premise.
A Hybrid Future?
Cloud computing is a powerful tool for businesses and it is here to stay. But traditional data centers also have its strengths. It can provide more control and security. Businesses shouldn’t rush into moving to the cloud. They should evaluate their individual business cases and decide based on the return on investment. For most companies, a compromise between traditional data centers and cloud computing would be a great option.